Two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel may feel right at home on the tarmac of the world’s fastest race tracks, but the German found himself in an altogether new situation this week as he quite literally took on his Aussie hosts at their own game with a round of cricket on Melbourne’s famous St Kilda Beach. On hand to explain the finer points of batting and bowling to the 22-year-old native of Heppenheim in southern Germany were Australian cricketers Brad Hodge and Peter Siddle.
“Back home in Germany cricket isn’t exactly our national sport,” joked Vettel, “so it was a great chance for me to try out something new. By the end of the session I was getting the hang of it, but I still don’t think I will be swapping my racing car for a bat and ball any time soon.”
Hodge and Siddle, both members of the Australian national side, were impressed with the two-time world champion’s hand-eye coordination and quick reactions: “He did really well. Once we had shown him the basics he hit some pretty impressive shots. Playing cricket on sand is even tougher than on a normal grass pitch, but he seemed to take it all in his stride. He’s a natural.”
Following a Red Bull Racing one-two finish in the final race of 2011 in Brazil, Webber and Vettel will be looking to continue where they left off at the first race of the 2012 season in Melbourne. Despite becoming the youngest ever Formula 1 champion in 2010 and going on to dominate the 2011 season, Vettel says he is still hungry for success: “Nothing has changed. I still get upset when other people beat me, so that is a good thing.”